Former President Donald Trump offered a new explanation Monday as to why he didn’t return classified documents he took with him from the White House, saying he was “very busy” and didn’t have time to separate them from his personal belongings.
Trump made the comments in an interview with Fox News’ chief political anchor Bret Baier on his show Special Report.
Asked why he didn’t simply return the bankers boxes full of documents after the National Archives and Justice Department moved to subpoena him, Trump said, “Because I had boxes, I wanted to go through the boxes and get all of my personal things out. I don’t want to hand that over to NARA yet. And I was very busy, as you’ve sort of seen.”
Baier then read from the Justice Department’s June 8 indictment, which charged Trump with 37 felony counts of mishandling national security information and obstructing justice in not returning them. More than 300 classified documents were recovered more than a year after Trump left the White House, most under subpoena in June 2022 or during an FBI search in August 2022.
“According to the indictment, you then tell this aide to move (the boxes) to other locations after telling your lawyers to say you’d fully complied with the subpoena when you hadn’t,” Baer asked Trump.
“Before I send boxes over, I have to take all of my things out,” Trump responded. “These boxes were interspersed with all sorts of things.”
Trump pleaded not guilty to the charges in his June 13 arraignment in Miami, and agreed not to discuss the case with his co-defendant and former White House valet Walt Nauta and potentially dozens of witnesses the Justice Department plans to bring in the case.